Some people are born to be performers. They just have the talent – and the courage to perform at the stage, in front of hundreds of audience, under the spotlight.
Yesterday was my first performance since I joined the Church Choir back few months ago. Hmmh, let me revise my sentence. Yesterday was the first Choir Service I joined for the Sunday Service? Anyway, you know my point – yesterday was the first time I get on the stage together with the Choir.
I was feeling very nervous. It was the only 2nd time I went on the Church altar. The first time was several months ago when I was appointed to say a short prayer for the Collect. And I did feel very nervous too that time. Usually when I was very nervous, I would do two things, either having the urgent need to go to toilet all the time, or smiling or giggling uncontrollably. None of them is a good choice – when you have to stand in front of hundreds of people, especially in Church.
It’s funny to see myself that way, since I was a performer myself – in my so-much-brighter-days long time ago. I had joined Singing contests, Poetry contests, I joined Choirs for more than 10 years, I did many emcee jobs, I joined a theater club and a dance club in college, and we did do our performances.
Now my devotional reading today bring me to think further on being under the spotlight…
‘The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person’s worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight.’ (Oswald Chambers)
I’ve been thinking – it’s easy to give your best shoot when you are under the spotlight. It’s natural to feel nervous – you know that you’re being judged by the audience, whether they will give you a standing applause – or some bitter expressions of dissatisfaction. But even when you feel nervous, you still want to do your best performance. But when you go back behind the stage – in some dark corner of your comfort zone, far from people’s sight, you have the right to be just yourself, letting go the thick make-up, change the heavy costumes to your shorts. You just be you, behind the stage, not under the spotlight.
I wonder if my Christian life is much similar as my previous life as a performer. I don’t know about all of you, but really, I often feel that way. I’ve been dealing with so many lessons in life for the past 10 years, teaching me about humbleness and letting go my pride. I’ve been avoided anything that require me to perform in front of so many people ever since – even joining the Church Choir has taken me some time to evaluate my motivations.
But in my daily life, I wonder how close I am to the danger of being an actress, a performer of Christian Life Drama.
My stage is my services, the day you find me sitting in the Church – not on the stage, just sitting silently in some corner. My stage is in my Sunday School class, when I lead the small children to sing along and sometimes dance with them. My stage is when I take the MRT, sitting in silence reading my Bible, or doing some embroidery works. My stage is when I talk to my friend, sharing about God’s love and God’s great work in my life. My stage is when I listen to their problems, and quote some Bible’s verses to soothe them. My stage is when I say emphatically to them, ‘Sure, I will pray for you’. My stage is my Facebook account, where you can see only my smiling faces. My stage is when I have dinner with my friends, laughing and make jokes. My stage is my Facebook album, where you can see things I’ve done – my quilts, my bakings, my crochet – to show my works. My stage is in my emails and reports at the office, the time I join the coordination meetings, where I control my emotions and give my best concentration. My stage is when I write my blogs, choosing my language wisely – and try to be grammatically correct thanks to the help of Microsoft.
I don’t know about you, but at least, those things are the moment when I try to behave, to perform well. To give – maybe not the best – a better version of myself.
But there are times, I’m hiding at the backstage, hiding from the spotlight. My backstage is when I’m home, fail to keep my wardrobe neat. My backstage is my messy bedroom and undone bed. My backstage is when I can’t stop myself from playing The Sims, when I know I should have been sleeping or doing something else more useful. My backstage is when I just can’t – seriously can’t – say my prayer, when I know I should pray for others. My backstage is my hidden thoughts. My backstage is my inability to love and accept others as they are. My backstage is the dislike I have in my heart to people who – I consider –annoy me. My backstage is the time I don’t want to do anything but staying in my bed, refusing to go to work. My backstage is when I talk about people at their back. My backstage is when I can’t control my emotion. My backstage is when I can’t help to feel I’m the right one, and everyone else is just wrong. My backstage is when I judge people, and set their values based on my shallow judgment. My backstage is when I do wrong things – even when I know that they are wrong, and fail to do the right things – when I know they’re right. My backstage is when I tell my sister to go on diet and take care of health, when I can’t stop munching the chocolate wafer and skip my lunch and hop on the bus instead of walking. My backstage is when I can’t stop thinking of what personal benefit I’ll get in doing something. My backstage is when I fail to answer patiently to some – which I consider – stupid comments from others. My backstage is when I sing ‘Great is Thy faithfulness’ and fail to believe what I’m singing – and still you think I’m a religious girl cause you find me crying while singing – maybe actually I cry because I feel I fail to believe?
Haha, it feels like confessing sins in public. But it’s true. Whether I realize or not, in front of audience, there’s an urge to display a better version of my life. In front of others, there’s a tendency to be a good Christian. I try my best to do my commitment. But when I’m all alone, honey, I keep failing to be that committed person.
I’ve been taken by surprise to see, that after all, despite all the effort to avoid any performance, I’m actually a performer in my daily life. Maybe after all, I’m still the actress, trying to impress my audience under the spotlight…
And how I’m longing for the time when I can let go my performer mentality and be fully a disciple of Christ, truly be one of God’s children, by doing all things that please His heart, all things that are good in His eyes. How I’m longing for the time when He complete His work in me, and purify my heart and my character. How I’m longing for the time, that in this world, I would never, never do any effort to perform myself, other than for His pleasure alone!